Reviews

In Step by Jay Hogan

vicki_williams's review against another edition

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5.0

Full of passion and hope and worth much more than 5 stars.

Every once in a while a book will come across my path that is so superbly written that I feel I’m living the story.
This is such a book. I’m watching the sunrise and sunset over the bay as they waves scrape along the sand. I’m dancing the tango in all it’s passionate glory. I’m sitting at my first found family lunch filled with nerves and excitement.

Kane is complicated, insecure, strong, humble and has so many layers that no one really knows who he his. Until Abe literally dances into his life and accepts and likes Kane for who he is not what he was.
So begins the beautiful journey of Kane going from a lonely barely there existence to a life filled with meaning, friendships, happiness and passion. Passion takes many forms and they are all explored in Kane and Abe’s story. From Abe and his passion for dance to Kane and his passion for animals and, when the time is right, their everlasting passion for each other, their friends and family.

With this instalment in the Painted Bay series Jay Hogan was able to pull so many emotions from me. My heart was wrung out at times then stitched back together to only have me crying again until my face hurt from smiling so much at Kane and Abe’s beautiful HEA. Their story resonated with my soul and will stay with me forever.

robinsease's review

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emotional hopeful slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

4.0

runningonbooks's review against another edition

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emotional hopeful sad tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes

5.0

serendipity_library's review

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emotional funny hopeful sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.75

a_manning11's review against another edition

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5.0

TW: abusive parent

Lovely characters, well written and the dance scenes are so.good!

readthisway's review

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emotional hopeful inspiring

4.0

bfdbookblog's review

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5.0

Judah grows up! As much as this book is about Kane and Abe, Judah plays a big role in this, and he almost lost me. However, Kane and Abe do not take crap from him and force him to grow up and accept things he might not be ready to accept. I guess this could be read as a standalone, but I think it is better enjoyed after reading the first two books…and they’re fantastic so you might as well!

Kane is so much more than he’s been given credit for and doesn’t think he deserves. Ironically, he’s been kicked while he was down more than once. We finally get the full story behind what happened with him and Judah as teens, and it was not exactly what I expected. Kane is a mix of shy/reserved and demanding when he needs to be. He is super sweet and surprisingly strong for someone who has been pushed aside time and again in his life. He deserves everything Abe shows and gives him.

Abe is fantastic for Kane. He is a no holds barred badarse and he is just what Kane needs to start living. He is snarky, talented, and loving. He is mending his own family fences and at 40 figuring out what he wants to do with the rest of his life. He doesn’t expect anything that happens in Painted Bay.

We get a little hint about what’s going on with Patrick but I’m hoping we get his story. And what about Terry?? Regardless…if this author writes, I’m reading.

ilyarozanov123's review

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3.0

My favorite in this series. The cover is beautiful too. I really felt for Kane, and his story touched me more than the rest’s. I can’t say bully redemption stories are something I’ve enjoyed previously, but I enjoyed this. I was very proud of Kane for standing up to Judah, and then also to his father. Good for him.

It was also refreshing to read someone like Abe, who was capable of handling things maturely and with zero bullshit. Even though I thought he talked a bit too much about his age. The “I’m older than you all so I know best” is not a concept I believe in.

The story wasn’t perfect, and I especially disliked everything in regards to Kane’s father, but I’m thankful I read a spoiler beforehand that nothing came out of his violent threats. Otherwise, I would’ve been stressed out about that, but now I could deal.

As for the narration, it was good, just like in the other two books. Gary Furlong is impressive. I’m a bit sad that this series is over. I wonder if there’ll be more.

so_many_books's review

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4.0

3.5⭐ for this emotional read.

In Step was a very emotional, very soul-searching book about a choreographer and a broken man living for the hope of a second chance.

Kane is struggling to start a new life at the age of thirty getting over his horrible dad, and his horrible past. He lives on the outside, from the edge looking in to the lives of those he wronged ages ago and who still decided to give him a second chance. But still, he's an outsider.
Until Abe arrives in town to work with Judah (from previous books) with a small recital for the kids with special needs. And Abe has trouble to reconcile the sweet, shy man he gets to know in Kane and the stories they say about his past.
And together they discover something very special.

I loved the emotional rollercoaster of Kane revealing, reliving and working through his past and his present traumas. I loved how Abe was unwilling to see the young man in the overshadowing prejudice everyone else seem to see him. I loved their conversations, their dynamics and their growing feelings.
I also loved all the dancing!
Choosing tango to show off the emotions of these two man was a perfect choice as the dance has this deeply routed sensuality, and its tactile nature showed off the emotions on a different level.

I loved their stories, the friends (but I probably missed a lot by not reading the first book in the series). I loved the tearjerking moments and the angst!

But still, the book was not that deeply engaging for me and I kept putting it away and starting doing something else. I think between the peeks in angst and drama, the book was a bit flat.

But all in all it was a great read and if you love MM romances with dancers, this one's for you!

enayqueerbooklover's review

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5.0

5 gold stars of praise for incredible writing in this 3rd book of the Painted Bay series. I adored book 1 (Off Balance), felt a little flat about book 2 (that was on me - I’m not a fan of angry men), but this one has been the best of the series. 100%.

Absolutely stellar storyline, character development, and emotional expression. The dance scenes were explained in such vivid detail it literally took my breath away. Putting you into a dance scene with such descriptiveness that you feel like you’re there… that’s incredibly skilful writing.

The passion between the two was heart-pounding. The emotional development of the relationship between Kane & Abe was just beautiful. The passion, the longing, the desire, the empathetic understanding…. GAH… many sad AND happy tears. And the HEA was just perfect.

Lastly I was really impressed with the authentic & accurate way living with HIV was represented. It’s not a death sentence anymore, and people can live long & happy lives with the right treatments & precautions. Great to see it represented as such, instead of doom & gloom.

Is this it for Painted Bay? I hope not. There are other side characters I’d love to see get their HEAs.